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___ Eight Buddhist Symbols

Eight Buddhist Symbols (Chinese: 八大吉祥) Royal emblems and symbols of Buddhist religious belief.

Buddhist missionaries brought eight symbols (Ashtamangala) from India to China as listed below. The first four of these are royal emblems associated with Buddha, and the other four are symbols of Buddhist religious belief.

Royal Emblems
1) The Canopy, parasol or umbrella (Chinese: 傘 伞, pinyin: sǎn)
is the symbol of a monarch, and represents spiritual authority and shelter for all living beings.

2) The Conch shell (Chinese: 法螺)
represents wisdom in the voice of Buddha calling people to worship.
Shells which spiral clockwise are a rarity and are considered especially sacred.

3) The Sacred Vase (Chinese: 寶瓶)
holds the water of life, but it also symbolises longevity, abundance and prosperity.

4) The Royal Banner (Chinese: 華蓋)
symbolizes charity and the incorruptible official.

The Eight Auspicious Buddhist Symbols
1. Parasol; 2. Conch Shell; 3. Sacred Vase; 4. Royal Banner;
5. Wheel of Life; 6. Pair of Fish; 7. The Endless Knot; 8. The Lotus Flower

Images above: Bob Jacobson, courtesy of Osel Shen Phen Ling

Symbols of Buddhist Belief
5) The Wheel of Life (Chinese: 法輪; Pinyin: fălún)
The wheel of the law-karma represents the ever-turning wheel of transmigration of the soul and it symbolises the Buddhist teachings as well.

6) A Pair of Fish (Chinese: 雙魚)
A pair of fish is a symbol of tenacity, domestic felicity, and fertility.

7) The Endless Knot (Chinese: 盤長; pán cháng)
is a symbol of longevity and eternity. As a fundamental truth of Buddhism, the knot symbolises cyclical change of all things.

8) The Lotus Flower (Chinese: 莲花; pinyin: liánhuā)
Rising unsullied through muddy water, the Lotus Flower is a symbol of purity and enlightenment and refers to many aspects of the eightfold path.  


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